Drink beer at Hands On Children's Museum

Museum offers quarterly adults-only night Adult Swim

By Molly Gilmore on January 22, 2014

The Hands On Children's Museum has something new on tap Friday: beer.

No, really.

The museum is launching Adult Swim, a quarterly adults-only night, with a beer-tasting event.

"The first thing people say to us is ‘Beer at a children's museum?' " said museum spokeswoman Genevieve Chan. "That kind of a contrast is really interesting to people."

True to the museum's mission, though, the idea isn't that museumgoers will simply guzzle beverages from eight craft breweries and one meadery. Rather, the party includes crafts and science experiments.

"There are a lot of beer fests that people go to, but the fact that it's at a museum makes this event more interesting," Chan said. "People can learn something and enjoy themselves at the same time."

Normally, adults aren't allowed in the museum without children, but this time, it's all about the grownups.

"Beer seemed like a great choice because of the growing interest in craft beer and local beer," said Adrienne Testa, the museum's education coordinator and the organizer of Adult Swim. "Finding local breweries that are willing to participate was very easy."

Testa organized adults-only events at the all-ages Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C., where beer-themed nights drew the biggest crowds, up to 1,000 people.

The beer will be flowing, with brews from Ashtown Brewing Co., Dick's Brewing Co., Fish Brewing Co., Georgetown Brewing Co., Harmon Brewery, Kastellan Brauerei, Laurelwood Brewery and Rocky Top Homebrew and mead from Skep N Stein. There's no limit on the number of tastes, either. And the Barb's BBQ truck will be on hand for the hungry.

There'll be a lot more to do than just drink and eat, though.

You can find out whether you have the genetic makeup to enjoy India pale ales, take a close look at beer's ingredients under a microscope and examine the differences in the head of carbonated and nitrogenated beers.

"There's so much science that goes into brewing beer," Testa said. "Brewers are scientists in a way."

Adults will also get a chance to get crafty, with make-and-take activities including making a beer cozy, silkscreening on paper or on T-shirts available for purchase at the museum and creating a pretzel necklace to wear or eat.

Maybe there'll even be dancing. The museum has hired a DJ, who'll be spinning from the cargo ship exhibit on the ground floor. "People will probably be feeling loose and excited to be in the museum and will likely dance," Testa said.

They might also be feeling loose thanks to the beer. The events, happening every three months or so, won't always have such an explicitly adult theme, Testa said, but the second one, set for April 11, is "Cosmonauts and Cocktails."

Adults can also visit all of the museum's exhibits, including the airway maze and the volcano exhibit, and get creative in the art studio.

"They can tap into a side of themselves they don't usually get to express in their workspace or in their home life," Chan said.

All that's missing is the face painting.

BeerCraft: The Art and Science Behind Craft Brews, 6-9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24, Hands On Children's Museum, 414 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia, $15, 360.956.0818